I am looking for a concise way to write “a message to myself”. Message could be replaced with letter or mail. In context, I'm using this word to represent a digital message I have written to myself for the purpose of reading later. The best I have is “meta mail” but this is my own creation.


I have an inbox full of _____.

Thesaurus search terms: Message, Letter, Mail

Criteria: A single word, character, or compound word will be considered.

Considerations: Meta Mail: This isn't ideal because it is two words.

Alternatives: Phrases are welcome as inspiration, but unlikely to be used.

  • What is a "character"? Do you mean a character like Mr. McFeely, the postman on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood? Or do you mean some arbitrary Unicode code point, possibly decorated with modifiers like for some art project? Why do you need anything shorter than what you already have? What real-world problem do you hope to solve with this? Your sample sentence seems to demand nothing more than a noun phrase to serve as the object of your preposition, something which you already have with your messages you sent yourself. It has nothing else to distinguish itself that I can see.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 1:48
  • @tchrist By character I am referring to Unicode characters. I want something that encapsulates this definition because of its use case. I won't go into full detail but here is an adjacent example: imagine an email program's sidebar: Inbox, Sent, Drafts, Trash, etc. Under Inbox would be a folder with my requested word to represent messages sent to me by me. I provided a sample sentence simply to follow the rules but my use case never requires this to be used in a sentence, it’s to be used as the name for a template for a message to myself.
    – Psyntax
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 2:18

10 Answers 10


Note to Self” is used sometimes.

There’s also a song with this title.

  • 1
    It should be noted for the criteria that this is indeed a compound, specifically an "open compound noun", just like "ice cream", "full moon" or "real estate". Of course, it is not a "closed compound" or "portmanteau word", which is likely what the criteria meant. Like all open compounds, it may be quoted or hyphenated if necessary to clarify that it's a compound in cases where this is unclear, so you could reasonably write: Jeff clicked the "note to self" button; his inbox was already packed with many such notes-to-self. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 21:26
  • But not a single word as requested by the OP
    – 7caifyi
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 12:24
  • 1
    Note to self can be abbreviated Note. whatever they’re called, the writer will want to distinguish what’s for self and what’s for others.
    – Xanne
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 15:56

Memo is by no means specifically to self, but might be used if context made this clear. One way to clarify is "memo to self" which is at least just four syllables.

The same applies to Reminder. "I have an inbox full of reminders" might be clear enough. "A calendar full of reminders" likewise.

  • 10
    "Reminder" would be my top recommendation. Not that the other answers aren't also correct, but "reminder" is very common.
    – Graham
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 12:06
  • 1
    I'd interpret "an inbox full of reminders" to suggest automated systems or calendars were sending automated reminders, rather than that they were deliberate notes to self. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 21:03
  • 3
    ‘Memo’ is derived from ‘memorandum’, the original meaning of which is a short note serving as a reminder (usually to oneself). So ‘memorandum’ or ‘memo to self’ would seem a good fit.
    – gidds
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 0:47
  • I'm aware I'm just creating it rather than pointing at an existing word (as far as I know), but the "auto" prefix resolved the issue with "memo". An "automemo" would describe exactly what OP is using these mails for - but it would be a neologism. I would personally opt for "to self" instead, but given OP's constraint of it having to be a single word, this seems acceptable.
    – Flater
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 4:28

I have an inbox full of aide-memoires.

An aide-memoire is something such as a list that you use to remind you of something.

Wikipedia says:

Aide-mémoire (French pronunciation:  [ɛdmemwaʁ], "memory aid") is a French loanword meaning "a memory-aid; a reminder or memorandum, especially a book or document serving this purpose".

  • 10
    I don't think this is in common enough usage in English to qualify. At best it seems maybe a bit pretentious? Not something the average English-speaker would say, though it's presumably more common among French speakers and Francophiles... Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 16:43
  • 5
    If you did, you might as well go all the way, and spell the plural aides-mémoires.
    – Davislor
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 18:31
  • 2
    I wouldn't think of an aide-memoire as a note I'd necessarily written to myself; most of the times I've come across the term it's been written by others (or by myself for others). For example, the British Army is full of aides-memoires for soldiers giving mnemonics for battle drills or fire control orders. I (BrE) associate it with institutions like the military rather than with being pretentious or Francophile.
    – dbmag9
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 9:13
  • 3
    @DarrelHoffman Pretentious? Moi?
    – k1eran
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 22:09
  • 2
    aides-mémoire ! Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 3:10

I have an inbox full of reminders.

Per https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reminder

b : something (such as a note or notification) designed to prompt or aid the memory

  • Idiomatically perfectly valid to use in my opinion, but pedantically it doesn't specify that you are the author of these reminders. It only specifies that you are the recipient. OP is looking for something that explicitly specifies being both the author and the recipient.
    – Flater
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 4:38
  • @Flater Sometimes an OP will ask for the opposite of horse without knowing it =)
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 12:08

I have an inbox full of notes.

A note is a message to yourself. A note intended for someone else is a memo, mail, etc...

  • 1
    You can send notes to other people, leave notes for other people, etc. Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 15:40
  • Same as you can write a letter to yourself. That's not the default though; you have to specify who the letter is for. A note is usually assumed to be for one's own consumption. In the current context, which seems to be computer interfaces, I think it's the best single word to use.
    – Filterboy
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 15:44
  • It's quite common to speak of writing and accumulating notes for a project; that they are for oneself is implied. Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 3:13
  • @Filterboy I don't think that by default a note can be assumed to be for one's own consumption (unless the surrounding context makes that implication). However, stating that you have these notes does imply that you are the intended recipient. While it may not specifically imply that you are also the author of these notes, it seems to sufficiently fit OP's bill.
    – Flater
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 4:35

A rather unambiguous single-word noun approach is using the hyphenated compound word self-message. It is not a usual dictionary word but self- is a highly productive prefix that forms compounds to indicate "'second element' of oneself" (mostly nouns and adjectives), and OED lists many of them (where some common examples are self-written, self-addressed, self-invitation etc.). Adjective options for your context could be self-written or self-sent. There are more common or dictionary words given in other answers but they may not be as precise; as the message may not be just a note or a reminder, and you want to emphasize that it is sent to or written by self. At a quick glance, self-message appears in some books about self-esteem and also appears as a variable name in programming books in Google Books.

Here is an example usage:

The way you feel about yourself today is partly due to the messages you send yourself. These messages help you to feel good or bad about yourself. When you identify, explore, and evaluate your self-messages, you can decide which you want to keep and which you don't. You can learn new ways to talk to yourself that help you to develop healthy self-esteem.

The Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Build Confidence by Lisa M. Schab

  • Yes, I was thinking "self-memos"? Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 23:58
  • Automemo sounds like a neat neologism to encapsulate the intended meaning.
    – Flater
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 4:38

Soliloquy is a similar word (when speaking aloud). Time capsules come to mind, as well, but they don't answer the question.

Maybe the word log would be sufficient for the situation. True, a log could be for more than one person, but it's not typically sent to anyone. It's just there for when you need it. Journals and diaries aren't typically sent to anyone, either; so, you're kind of talking to yourself, or unknown possible others.

If you like to make up words, metalog sounds good. Idiomail would have clearer meaning. Hyphenated words are still single words, though. You could technically just say idio-mail (or meta-mail, meta-log, etc.), without having to make up a word, since idio is a word, and so is mail, and hyphens combine words.

  • Your second paragraph only contains argument in regards to the recipient of the log. Even if OP agrees with your argument, it still lacks justification as to how it implies that they themselves are also the author of said log. Secondly, logs are not really reminders; quite the opposite in fact. Logs are out of sight until you go looking for them, whereas reminders are (by design) in your sight so you don't lose track of them.
    – Flater
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 4:42
  • “Captain’s log, star date XYZ …” +1 for some good suggestions.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 9:12

There is no single word for "a message to myself", or anything similar. If there was, why would any search engine not have revealed it to you?

The message being digital won't change that, nor will it being "letter or mail".

If 'for the purpose of reading later' adds anything what is that, please? Could there be any other purpose?

When the best you have is “meta mail” why is that not suitable?

What would be wrong with “metamail” or "memail" or "mymail" or "mailtome"?



Sticky notes is a generic version of the trade-marked Post-it notes.

Obviously the definition is metaphorical here, but leverages that very common tool. To make a single word, I think stickies would get the point across. It's similar to reminders as suggested by @nigel222, though those are often used as things you'd check off a to-do list to disappear. You could, for instance, have an integrated reminder list that is separate.

  • 1
    Just "stickies" would suggest that the emails had been "stickied" (aka "pinned" in some software), rather than that they were notes to self. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 21:05
  • I would just use. Post-it notes….
    – jmoreno
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 23:55
  • @jmoreno For a non-commercial product, I would too. It's trademarked though, so you'd need a generic alternative for something commercial.
    – jimm101
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 12:29

On term for a "Note to Oneself" is a "Mental Note". But obviously this implies the note is not written. So in your situation, this is a bit of a cute oxymoron.

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